Wild arum

The tender trap female flowers at the base and a zone of male flowers further up, separated by a whorl of sterile flowers. A second zone of sterile flowers with long bristles are above the male flowers and guard the lower chamber which is formed by the enclosing spathe. The upper part of the spadix is club shaped and develops an unpleasant odour when the upper portion of the spathe unfurls. The scent attracts flies and small beetles that fly into the flower but are unable to keep their feet on the smooth surfaces of the spathe and spadix. Small insects fall through into the flower chamber while larger flies are arrested by the guarding bristles. At first the female flowers are mature and receptive to any pollen carried by the flies. Later the anthers of the male flowers break open and shower pollen on the captive insects. Finally the flower’s guard bristles wither and release the flies, hopefully to visit other plants and get trapped again.

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